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The Power of Words

This may seem like a loaded, never-ending topic. Yes I agree. I'm engaging in an inner dialogue today on this very subject, as I reflect on recent conversations I've had and how easily we can hurt one another with our words. I have the privilege of living in an intentional community and of leading women through empowerment programs, all of which put me in situations of intense vulnerability and honesty. I know first-hand of the power of words. And I see over and over again how we can destroy one another and tear the very fabric that unites us with the way in which we choose to communicate.

Women in general are especially skilled at both building and tearing apart the fragile field that weaves a delicate tapestry between us. The divine feminine, in its purest form, is the energy of fluid motion and interconnectivity. It binds and unites and moves through the changing tides. Because of its dynamic nature it has the ability to handle the inner storms of emotions and when embraced fully, it gives us, as women, permission to feel and to express all, in the name of interconnection and union.

Now the flip side - when misused or misunderstood, our emotions can perpetuate an endless cycle of both being the victim and the victimizer. When acting from an unaware place we (both men and women) fall victim to our own emotional upheaval and without understanding the root cause of the emotion, lash out in a state of blame - thinking that the other must be the cause of our pain. This is a false belief, one stemmed in deep-rooted societal structures that perpetuate the oppressor/oppressed dynamic. No one is to blame for the way you feel. Whoa. I'll stop there for a momentary pause. This very statement may stir up all kinds of emotions.

No one is to blame for the way you feel.

If you are feeling happy, sad, angry, afraid, depressed, or a combination of any of these, THERE IS NO ONE ELSE TO BLAME. Your emotions are all a result of your perceived outlook on any given situation, yes, the way YOU see things. Now I could go into a discourse on how to change your perception of the situation in front of you - perhaps in another article. What has been stirring in my mind lately has been the power of our words, especially when we are triggered by what is happening around us... So that is where I'm going from here.

Conscious communication begins with one first, vital step - each person must be willing to own his/her own story. What this means to me is that when conflict arises, all parties must believe, or at least agree to the possibility, that they are responsible for the way they feel. And this responsibility lies in the story we carry from our past. It's true - your past absolutely influences your present state of well-being. If you are carrying deep wounding stories and messages about why people do the things they do, stories that have not yet been resolved or forgiven, then these very stories are impacting how you react to what is currently happening in your life.

How this could potentially show up in your life: let's say you were physically assaulted by an older man when you were young. The trauma that settles into your cells programs a certain stress response into your body. From this moment forward, until the point of healing, every time a man of a certain height or that looks a certain way enters your experience, there's a part of you that reacts from fear. You may find yourself working for a man that has certain similar qualities to the one who inflicted the abuse and every time he tells you to do something in a specific way, you feel afraid. Now an aware person will begin to connect those dots and see that the fear is not a result of how he's speaking to you or whether or not he's using dominating power to get you to obey. The fear may actually be a result of the story you are carrying about a certain kind of man, saying specific things.

Once this awareness begins to grow inside, this is the true beginning of conscious communication. Now you can approach another that you are in conflict with and say, "I'm having a story going on inside of me and I'd like to discuss it with you. Are you willing?" As opposed to, "I'm really upset with you. You attacked me (or abandoned me, or hurt me, or disrespected me...). We need to talk." Or the ultimate in lack of self-awareness occurs when someone is angry with someone else and refuses to talk to them about it, while engaging in many hurtful and disrespectful conversations behind their back. If you are upset with another and talking to everyone else about it OTHER THAN THE ONE YOURE UPSET WITH then you are acting from that victim/victimizer paradigm and you will fail to resolve the conflict. It may feel better temporarily. But the effects will bring anything but healing and growth.

It requires real strength to face your greatest enemy - the stories and the messages that are inside of you. This is where consciousness grows. This is where you expand and build your capacity to handle the bigger obstacles in life. This is the path of the true warrior - the one who is willing to see the darkness in themselves and step forward anyway. The one who knows his/her own inner demons and can still love the person they find living inside their own heart. Are you willing to walk the path of the true warrior?

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